About Us

Youth with Disabilities Forum (YDF) is civil society organization, established in Belgrade, in 2005.

YDF mission is to contribute to inclusion, advocacy and promotion of human rights, through the establishment of cross-sector partnerships and other sustainable mechanisms, building and strengthening human and other resources and capacities necessary for self development of persons with disabilities. We want to create a society of equal and active citizens in which persons with disabilities are empowered to live and make decisions independently corresponding to their needs and resources.

Organizational Description

The organization represents and advocates in the interest of persons with disabilities in several fields: education, employment, accessibility, entrepreneurship, social policy/community based services and leadership, enabling improvement of the position of people with disabilities and full respect of human rights in the wider society.

YDF successfully implemented around 50 national and local projects, with more than 1000 direct beneficiaries and up to 5000 indirect users, contributing to the development of inclusive society on local, regional and national level.

Relevant donors recognize our activities as high quality and result oriented actions. Our donors are Delegation of European Union to the Republic of Serbia, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade, Embassy of the United States Serbia, Royal Netherlands Embassy in Belgrade, Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Affairs, Ministry of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications, City of Belgrade, Secretariat for Social Protection, Ministry of Youth and Sports, United Nations Development Program, Fund for an Open Society.

Organizational History/Background

The organization was established in Belgrade, in 2005, by small group of young people with disabilities who were not satisfied with the current position of persons with disabilities in a society, and who were ready to create initiatives, proposals and solutions for social inclusion of this target group.

The first mission was to strengthen the leadership potential of young representatives of people with disabilities as an engine of change, enabling civil society to become an effective force for democratic reform and defense of human rights, ensuring political and civic participation and representation and public-institution advancement.

From small group of enthusiastic people, the organization became a leader organization in Serbia concerning improvement position of persons with disabilities, especially in the domain of employment. From small local projects, few workshops and small number of users, we succeeded to receive and manage EU projects, as well as projects from other international donors in all parts of Serbia. We established partnership with state actors (Ministry of labour, City of Belgrade, other local municipalities in Serbia), nongovernmental organization and business sector. The most important, we directly improved position of more than 1000 users. We developed our social business and received awards for corporate social responsibility programs developed with business sector.

The things that haven’t changed is motivation, innovative ideas and beliefs in inclusive society. YDF has a team of people who have been dedicated to the organization’s mission and vision in spate of periods that were hard for organizations sustainability.

Key Products, Services, Programs

The main areas that YDF covered during the last 5 years were:

1. Social inclusion: education and employment
YDF implemented activities for strengthening the individual capacities of persons with disabilities for employment, contributing to the quality life advancement, as well as raising awareness of employers. Results include:
• About 30 trainings and workshops per year, for acquiring the soft skills, in order to improve competitiveness in the labour market, which enable more successful adjustment to the work environment and job requirements of persons with disabilities
• Counselling – works every Wednesday at the Forum premises with the goal of informing people with disabilities and giving recommendations for each part of the employment process
• Biography database – all interested in the job can apply to the Forum’s biographies database
• Forwarding biographies to employers (pre-selection of candidates) in accordance with the expressed needs of the employer and the required job positions
• About 6 Trainings per year for Employers for employment of persons with disabilities – building and strengthening the capacities of employers for the process of employment
• Consultative and advisory services for Employers in any segment of the recruitment process: providing information on candidates, the manner of interviewing, adjusting workplace and work assignments, communication, etc.
• Innovative platform for disability employment policy monitoring was created. 1 Survey realized with 465 employees with disabilities, 194 unemployed persons with disabilities and 284 employers
• Educational program for disability employment rights monitoring implemented with 65 participants from 25 municipalities in Serbia
• 6 public debates realized for creation of policy recommendation with 89 participants; 6 thematic local coalitions created for disability employment issues in 6 cities
• Program for career guidance for disadvantaged youth was developed and implemented in 4 selected municipalities with 132 disadvantaged and other youth, 38 parents involved and 22 educating and mentoring staff of high schools (teachers, pedagogics, and psychologists). Program was certified at Institute for improvement of the education
• “Inclusive academy” was designed and implemented for strengthening the capacities of persons with disabilities for employment at open labor market, for 7 years with 80 participants. After education, up to 65 participants have got employment
• About 50 Contracts and Memorandums on cooperation were signed with Employers for support in employment of persons with disabilities
• Up to 350 persons with disabilities employed

2. Development and monitoring of the community based services for persons with disabilities
YDF implemented activities that contributed to enhancement of civil society in the social inclusion sector, by linking and strengthening existing and new community-based service providers in fields of social protection, education and employment, enabling their massification and quality advancement, as well as persons with disabilities position improvement. Results:
• The program for standardization of community-based services was developed and implemented with 60 service providers
• Program for sustainable partnerships for community-based services implementation was designed and implemented with 69 service providers
• 5 community based services received sub-grants from YDF and 109 final users – young persons with disabilities and their families – have benefitted from the service’s implementation.
• YDF is implementing the services for supporting families in the process of deinstitutionalization of persons with mental health disorders and intellectual disabilities-case conference and family counsellor.

3. Social entrepreneurship:
YDF implemented capacity building activities for development and implementation of social enterprises contributing to employment and self-employment of marginalized groups, as well as participating in national policy advancement. Results:
• “Social entrepreneurship school” for development of social business ideas was implemented for 5 years with 73 participants. In total, 40 social business plans were developed. 1 social enterprise received start-up grant from YDF
• 1 social enterprises fair was organized with 42 exhibitors and up to 500 visitors.
• Program for innovative incubator for social business was developed, with public call announced, and 4 incubator tenants were selected.
• “Center for inclusion, integration and innovation – In Centar”, as social entreprise, was eastablished by YDF in 2013. and works in Belgrade (adress cara Lazara 5-7)

Target Groups & Beneficiaries

Key target groups of the YDF includes: persons with disabilities, families of persons with disabilities, civil society organizations, business sector, local self-governments, relevant institutions: Ministries, National Employment Service, Centers for social welfare, Educational institutions. All these groups come from all across Serbia.

Primary Partners

YDF has built sustainable cross-sector partnerships with representatives of public and private sector, developing innovative solutions for improvement the position of persons with disabilities.

Partners from business sector: Societe Generale Bank Serbia, Delta Holding, Delhaize Serbia, Delta Generali Insurance, Delta Motors, Dufry, SBB, Mercator, Axa insurance, Ernst&Young, Elektroprivreda Srbije, Nestle, Wurth, Credit Agricole Bank.
Partners from public sector: Ministry of Youth and Sport, National Employment Service, Republic Institute for Social Protection, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, Institute for the Improvement of Education, Paralympic Committee Serbia, Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation.